March 1966: Trần Viet Sơn Begins Work for the Propagating and Training Department in Military Zone 5

Between 1964 and 1966 Trần Viet Sơn returned to Hanoi after studying at the Kiev College of Fine Arts in the USSR and began studying at the faculty of silk painting and wood engraving at the Vietnam Fine Arts College.

After graduating the Vietnam Fine Arts College in 1966, Sơn worked for the Propagating and Training Department in Military Zone 5, as well as the Literary Arts Association of the Mid-Central Region for Liberation. While documenting his time in Military Zone 5, Sơn gives the viewer an impression of the particular rural setting of the coastal Kỳ Anh District in Hà Tĩnh Province (fig. 1). With only Quảng Bình Province separating Hà Tĩnh Province from the Demilitarised Zone, Kỳ Anh District was of vital importance to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) for its position as a defensive buffer as well as its logistical and intelligence benefits. In Sơn’s painting, we can see how the militia, while a rural population, were armed and planning to fight.

Figure 1: Trần Viet Sơn, March 1966, “Nhà thời chiến ở; Kỳ Phú; Kỳ Anh, Hà Tĩnh; III 1966 (House at Kỳ Phú commune in resistance wartime Kỳ Anh District, Hà Tĩnh province; III 1966).” Watercolour on machine-made paper.

From 1967 to 1971, Sơn spent four years on the battlefield, subsequently working as a painter in the Literary Arts Creation Camp of South Vietnam.

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